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Minamata Convention’s maiden COP commences as Indonesia, Lao ratify treaty

The first Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP1) formally opens on Sunday, September 24, 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Minamata

Participants at the chemicals and waste briefing

The weeklong historic confab follows the entering into force of the Convention on August 16, 2017.

Ahead of the COP, a Chemicals and Waste briefing focusing on preparations for the Conference took place on Tuesday, September 12 at the International Environment House II. The event also provided updates on the implementation of the work programmes of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions and on the intersessional process for Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM) and the sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020.

This is coming even as the Governments of Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Indonesia on Friday, September 22 deposited their instruments of ratification, thereby becoming the 78th and 79th future Parties to the Minamata Convention.

Luxembourg on Thursday, September 21 deposited its instrument of ratification to become the 77th Party, following closely on the heels of Germany, which on Friday, September 15, did likewise to become the 76th Party to the mercury treaty.

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Luxembourg’s action came as the third ratification of the global pact after it entered into force and became legally binding on Wednesday, August 16, 2017. The first nation to ratify the treaty after it entered into force and became legally binding is the Republic of Namibia, which on Wednesday, September 6, 2017 deposited its instrument of ratification, thereby becoming the 75th future Party to the Minamata Convention.

Prior to the entry into force, Brazil on Tuesday, August 8, 2017 deposited its instrument of ratification, thereby becoming the 74th Party.

Earlier, Kiribati (July 28) and Syria (July 26) deposited their instruments of ratification to become 73rd and 72nd Parties, while Jamaica on Wednesday, July 19, 2017 became the 71st Party to the mercury convention.

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Hitherto, the Governments of Rwanda, Palau, Thailand, Slovenia and Viet Nam deposited their instruments of ratification, thereby becoming the 66th to 70th future Parties to the mercury treaty.

The depositions were made on Wednesday, June 21; Thursday, June 22; Friday, June 23; and Thursday, June 29, 2017. While Palau deposited on Wednesday and Thailand on Thursday, both Slovenia and Viet Nam did likewise on Friday. Rwanda followed up a week later on Thursday.

Previously, Iran and Estonia had ratified the Convention, which has already entered into force, thanks to the landmark rash of ratifications on Thursday, May 18, 2017 that triggered the entry into force of the mercury accord, having garnered the required 50 ratifications.

On that day, the EU and seven of its member States – Bulgaria, Denmark, Hungary, Malta, the Netherlands, Romania and Sweden – deposited their instruments of ratification at the UN Headquarters in New York, bringing to 51 that day the number of future Parties.

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To commemorate the historic development, United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), Ministry of the Environment of Japan, Kumamoto Prefecture and Minamata City on Saturday, July 1, 2017 held “Celebrating Event for the Minamata Convention on Mercury – Voice from Minamata towards the Entry into Force” in Minamata City, Kumamoto, Japan.

The 1st Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention (COP1) will gather governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations from around the world in Geneva, Switzerland from September 24 to 29, 2017.

The Minamata Convention on Mercury (“Minamata Convention”) is a new international environmental convention for global community to work collaboratively against mercury pollution. The Minamata Convention aims at achieving environmentally sound mercury management throughout its life cycle. The Convention was adopted at the diplomatic conferences held in Minamata City and Kumamoto City in October 2013.

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